PLANS to transform a house with Bronte links into luxury holiday accommodation have received the seal of approval.

Proposals for a major refurbishment of the Grade II* listed former Red House museum, at Gomersal, won all-party support at a meeting of Kirklees Council’s cabinet.

Dating back to 1660, the property and grounds are considered an important heritage asset.

They are associated with Luddite activities and the Taylor family – particularly Mary Taylor, a writer and early feminist.

And the house is revered by Bronte fans. Charlotte – a friend of Mary – was a regular guest at the property in the 1830s and gave it a starring role as Briarmains in her novel, Shirley.

Kirklees Council plans to invest £600,000 in the site to bring the historic house – and a neighbouring cart shed – back into use.

Red House operated as a community museum, but falling visitor numbers and rising costs led to its closure in 2016.

A decision to allow the property to be marketed for private sale prompted a petition from Red House Heritage Group in 2019, which resulted in the council’s cabinet agreeing to explore alternative uses for the site which could maintain it in public hands.

Under the new plan, designed to appeal to the luxury tourism market, the house will accommodate ten guests. And once the business is established, it may also host weddings. The cart shed will be split into four self-catering apartments.

Revenue generated from holiday stays is expected to be sufficient to cover the cost of operating the scheme and to enable a series of open days/weekends to take place, ensuring community access to the site.

Senior councillor Graham Turner told cabinet colleagues: “It’s important we recognise this project has been a challenge due to its complexity and its historical links with the Brontes, but I am sure it will be a great success and will pave the way forward on how we deal with similar buildings in the future. I suspect other councils will be keeping a keen eye on this, as it’s groundbreaking for a local authority to develop this type of project.”

Colin Parr, strategic director for environment and climate change, said the scheme would allow the council to retain the property in public ownership without incurring huge operating costs.